Maryellen Conrad, LMT
Massage Therapy is the manipulation of the soft tissues of the body using various hands on techniques. The most common technique of massage is Swedish. In Swedish Massage these is a lot of long gliding strokes, kneading and friction techniques on the superficial layers of the muscles to promote general relaxation , increase circulation and relieve overall tension in the body. Deep tissue massage is used to relieve chronic patterns of tension using slow deep strokes with direct pressure or friction across the grain of the muscles. A greater amount of pressure is applied to the muscle than Swedish Massage in order to reach the deeper muscle tissues. This technique is very effective for chronic muscular tension. Some of the benefits of massage are: Stress relief, improved circulation, relieves chronic and acute headaches, reduces anxiety, improves sleep, improves joint mobility and flexibility, and relieves sciatic pain and aides in the recovery from sports activities.
When going for a massage there is little to worry about. Most people prefer to wear loose fitting clothing so that they will be comfortable after the massage. During the massage you will be covered a towel and then draped with a sheet. The therapist will leave it up to the client on whether or not they prefer to leave their under clothing on or take it off. The only part of the body that will be exposed will be the area of the body that is being worked on. The genitals and breast areas remain covered at all times. One should be clean and not have eaten at least one hour before. You will have to fill out a short form providing the therapist with accurate health information. The therapist will go over any of your questions or concerns prior to your massage.
During the massage the therapist will make sure that you are comfortable and that the pressure that they are using is good for you. If at any time during your massage you would like your therapist to change the pressure make sure you ask them too. Don’t forget it is your massage. After your massage it is recommended that you drink water. Massage releases Lactic Acid from the muscles and the water will flush it out of your system. By doing this the effects of the massage will be greater and last longer. For a period of time after you also want to stay away from doing anything strenuous. Your muscles will be relaxed and doing any kind of strenuous activity immediately following the massage may cause injury.
There is however times you should not receive a massage. If you have a fever, history of phlebitis, thrombosis, contagious skin condition or acute inflammation, you should consult the therapist before going for your massage.